pe-hi-markgotell

Georgetown Fire Chief Mark Gotell ended up hiring another contractor to clear the snow from the fire hydrants.

The contractor hired to clear snow from around fire hydrants in Georgetown, P.E.I. is not doing a good enough job, says Fire Chief Mark Gotell.

Gotell told CBC News he took matters into his own hands last month when several days after two snowstorms the town's dozen fire hydrants were still not clear of snow.

"Every second counts when it comes to a fire," he said.

"If we have to get on the phone and start calling the contractor to clean a certain hydrant out for us, you know, that's all precious time wasted that maybe somebody's life could be in danger."

Gotell said he warned the town office if the hydrants were not dug out in the next 24 hours he would hire another contractor, and that's what he ended up doing. He said he got an earful from the mayor when he submitted the bill.

"I acted on the best interests of taxpayers, and if council can't see that then when it comes to snow removal their heads are stuck in the snow bank," he said.

Mayor Lewis Lavandier believes the town's contractor is doing a good job.

"We've seen here in the last month or so weather conditions that are quite severe," said Lavandier.

"I think that the chief is really overreacting here and I think that level heads are going to have to prevail."

The mayor hopes to resolve the issue at the fire department's monthly meeting Tuesday night.